Myth-busting for African agriculture

25 February 2015. According to the project “Agriculture in Africa – Telling Facts from Myths,” the evidence upon which we base our decisions and views about agriculture and farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa is often inadequate or out of date.

The project seeks to tell facts from myths about African agriculture using the Living Standards Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture, or LSMS-ISA, a household survey project working to collect up to date agricultural data. It tests the validity of 15 commonly believed statements; statements that, although commonly accepted, may no longer be valid given Africa’s rapid economic growth and the new era of high food prices, amongst other driving forces of change. To date, surveys have been conducted in six countries — Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda — representing 40 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa.

This research project identified some new facts about African agriculture that you may not know.

  1. FACT #1: Inorganic fertilizer in Africa is being used on staple crops, not only export crops.
  2. FACT #2: Uptake of improved seed varieties is already high, but mechanisation and irrigation is low.
  3. FACT #3: Men take on more farming responsibilities than previously thought.

28 February 2015. By Agnes Kalibata. Agnes Kalibata is the President of the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and former Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

  1. Double down on creating the conditions for smallholder farmers to adopt new inputs and practices through raising awareness and access to finance.
  2. Think outside the bank to consider new ways to deliver financing to farmers.‎
  3. Develop structured and efficient grain markets that are accessible for smallholder farmers
  4. Support efforts to match smallholder farmers with large-scale buyers.
  5. Support women in agriculture to reap a large dividend.

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